Tuesday, September 06, 2011


Biggest cargo bike ride ever!

I’ll bet there were a hundred people, including around a dozen or so children, hauled on various contraptions like the two on the Xtracycle with the sticker on it that said “One less minivan.”

No surprise, though, on the turnout, given the perfect weather and more importantly, that the ride functioned as an informal memorial for the beloved Val Kleitz, whose recent passing leaves a huge hole in the heart of the Seattle bicycle community, but whose own heart, I’ll bet, would have been warmed by the sight of so many folks out on two wheels carrying all they needed for a festive picnic in his honor at a lovely outdoor park on a beautiful late summer day.

It was deeply moving to see all the folks whose lives were touched by Val’s; for one thing, it was like the Hall of Fame of local bicycle mechanic royalty. I almost wished I had some sort of catastrophic failure of my bike just to see the assembled spring into action and fix it with zip-ties and bent spokes or something. As it was, however, my cargo bike performed beautifully, even when the ride took us through wooded pathways and gravel trails.

Momentarily, when we strayed from a more direct route to our destination, I was miffed, but then it occurred to me (no doubt inspired by Val’s spirit) that efficiency is not the only value. What about beauty, camaraderie, nature, physical endeavor, and fun? Why was it bothering me that I had to ride my bike a little farther than I had expected? Wasn’t pedaling around with people the whole point?

After that, I was delighted to go wherever the route took us as it wound around some of the prettiest spots Montlake and Ravenna have to offer, until eventually we arrived at the picnic, ready to drink beer and eat potato salad with a cone wrench, as Val himself was famous for.


Blogger Mike said...

Ah, sweet news. Wish I woulda been there. I will definitely eat my next salad with a cone wrench. Rest in peace, Val.

12:57 AM  

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